June 15, 2016 - 2:30 PM
KAMLOOPS - Castlegar and Kamloops will soon share fire dispatch services.
Kamloops has signed a five-year deal with Castlegar to take over the Kootenay town’s fire dispatch services, city safety director David Duckworth says. Kamloops will receive about $20,000 each year for providing the service.
“We were able to do it without increasing any staffing or equipment,” Duckworth says. “There will be no impact to service (in Kamloops).”
The Kamloops fire dispatch centre will start taking calls from Castlegar this summer, Castlegar fire chief Gerry Rempel says, noting they needed a new dispatch centre because Cranbrook, which had been handling Castlegar's calls, is moving away from those services.
Rempel says they approached other cities about fire dispatch, but were impressed by Kamloops staff and equipment.
“They’re awesome staff to work with,” he says. “I can honestly say you have an excellent fire service up there.”
Duckworth says Kamloops fire dispatch has deals with volunteer departments inside the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, but Castlegar is the first from outside the district. He says municipalities which don’t have the staff or capability often look for dispatch centres in other cities to take the calls.
“We will continue to look outside the Thompson-Nicola Regional District boundaries to expand our capabilities to do more dispatch services,” he says. “A lot of municipalities across the province — Surrey for example, Kelowna for example as well — they’re also looking for opportunities to provide dispatch services for municipalities.”
All 911 calls in B.C. are routed through Vancouver before being sent to a dispatch centre. Kamloops fire calls come through the Kamloops dispatch centre, while a Kelowna centre dispatches RCMP calls.
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